The Philippines is home to numerous talented artists and aesthetic treasures. Many local masterpieces and artworks, ranging from paintings, to sculptures, to historical artifacts, are displayed in museums around Metro Manila. However, due to the community quarantine, it seems like we wouldn’t be able to visit these museums in real life.
Luckily for us, local museums have created virtual tours, creating an online experience for both local and foreign visitors to explore the beauty of Filipino artistry, history, and culture.
Here are some of the online exhibits you can visit for a virtual museum-hopping session!
1. Presidential Museum and Library
Initiated by Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison, designed by the American consulting architect Ralph Harrington Doan, and constructed by the Bureau of Public Works under the supervision of architect Tomas Mapua, the Executive Building at Malacañan Palace was built to accommodate the offices of the chief executive of the land.
It has recently been transformed into a small museum that houses two online exhibits, focusing on reference material and memorabilia showcasing the history and heritage of the Philippine presidency. Malacañang as Prize, Pulpit, and Stage showcases the Palace as a place for national decision-making and other activities. Meanwhile, Relics of Power: Remembering Philippine Presidents features remarkable artworks and souvenirs from more than 120 years of Philippine leadership.
Some of the collections and works you can find in this museum include a copy of President Emilio Aguinaldo’s Acta de la Proclamación de la Independencia del Pueblo Filipino (1960), a chalkboard with a sketch of Camp Crame during the tumultuous EDSA Revolution (1986), and Manuel L. Quezon’s desk, crafted by Vidal Tampingco in 1937.
This virtual tour was made in partnership with Google Arts & Culture , an online platform where you can access high-resolution images of your favorite artworks and go on virtual walk-throughs in the museums. To check out the full exhibit, visit here.
2. National Museum
The National Museum of the Philippines is a complex of national museums that house a number of local ethnographic, anthropological, archaeological and visual arts collections. Situated in Since 1998, the National Museum has been the regulatory and enforcement agency of the Government of the Philippines in the restoring and safeguarding of important cultural properties, sites, and reservations throughout the Philippines. Situated in Rizal Park, the National Museum Complex consists of the National Museum of Fine Arts, National Museum of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, and National Planetarium. As of now, the National Museum of Fine Arts, also known as the National Art Gallery, has been open through a virtual exhibit, where visitors are treated to a 360-of works by famous local artists such as Juan Luna, Guillermo Tolentino, and Félix Resurrección Hidalgo up close. You can go on the virtual tour here.
3. Ayala Museum
Ayala Museum, found in the heart of Makati, houses a wide range of Filipino collections such as the Gold of Ancestors: Pre-Colonial Treasures in the Philippines, the Philippine Diorama Experience, A Millennium of Contact, and Art and the Order of Nature in Indigenous Philippine Textiles, among many others.
Though Ayala Museum has been closed due to renovation since June 2019, they have shifted to virtual tours and digital exhibits, which have been deemed timely at this time. Ayala Museum’s exhibits can be seen on numerous online platforms such as Google Arts and Culture, and its own YouTube channel where it highlights numerous virtual exhibit videos.
They recently launched the Ayala Museum On The Go, a mobile app that lets you experience visiting the Ayala Museum from your fingertips. To learn more, visit here.
The Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (CANVAS) is a non-profit organization that works with the creative community to promote children’s literacy, explore national identity, and broaden public awareness of Philippine art, culture, and the environment. Through a partnership with Google Arts & Culture , CANVAS has published a series of online exhibitions which aimed to spread awareness on local art. Some of the works featured include Take a Line for a Walk, an explainer on the local social realist movement portrayed through drawings; Perya, a nod to the unique Philippine tradition of fiestas and carnivals; and A Fish Tale, a showcase of Daniel dela Cruz’s whimsical fish-inspired sculptures.
5. Museo de Intramuros
The Intramuros Administration has partnered with Google Arts & Culture in setting up a virtual tour website that gives us a glimpse of the Walled City’s Rich Arts and Culture Collection. The website showcases 17 museum views, such as Plaza Roma and Fort Santiago, and also features an in-house exhibit of the Museo de Intramuros that showcases ecclesiastical art, furniture, vestments, and textiles and other artifacts.
6. Metropolitan Museum of Manila
The Metropolitan Museum of Manila has also shifted towards digital means of making art reach out to the public. Their website contains all the information you need about the museum’s virtual exhibitions, programs, and online events. This month, the MET is focusing on the exhibit Built Environment: An Alternative Guide to Japan which reflects the relationships between geographically diverse and sustainable spaces.
7. Yuchengco Museum
Made by Multimedia Arts students from Mapua Institute of Technology, Yuchengco Museum’s current virtual tours showcase exhibitions curated for those who either want to check out the museum (virtually) for the first time, or those who want to revisit the museum’s previous collections. The virtual tour allows visitors to use their own computer in order to take a self-guided tour of the museum and its exhibitions.